Appeals Court once again voids decision in resort workers case

PHILIPSBURG--While repairing what Workers Institute for Organised Labour (WIFOL) lawyers had called a "judicial error," the Appeals Court issued a new ruling on Monday in which it once again declared null and void the Simpson Bay Resort (former Pelican Resort Club) workers' victory of February 8 over Simpson Bay Resort Management Company BV (SBRMC) and Royal Resorts Management Company Ltd.

Ruling in the February injunction, the Court of First Instance had ordered SBRMC, the new management of Simpson Bay Resort, to continue paying salaries to 182 workers it had been attempting to dismiss. The company also was ordered to adhere to regulations stipulated in the collective labour agreement (CLA) with WIFOL and to bear all legal fees.

The Appeals Court overturned the previous ruling last week Friday, which meant SBRMC was no longer obligated to continue paying salaries to the 182 employees.

WIFOL's attorneys objected to the ruling because in their eyes it was based on a human error.

The three judges on the Appeals Court panel admitted they had been incorrect in stating that WIFOL's lawyers had not submitted legal documents within the required timeframe, which was set at April 22. Because April 22 was Good Friday, a public holiday, and April 25 was Easter Monday, also a public holiday, legally WIFOL had until April 26, the next available working day, to submit the relevant documents.

The repaired mistake did not lead the Appeals Court to a different judgment, because in the appeal WIFOL would have referred to its position in the Court of First Instance, the three judges stated Monday.

Attorney Wim van Sambeek stated that WIFOL would not withdraw the injunction filed on Monday to reverse what is still considered a judicial error, while an appeal at the High Court in The Hague in the principal case also is being considered.

(Source: The Daily Herald St. Maarten)

8 November 2011

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